Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Dance Review: Reverb Festival 2009 -The Place to Be… Period!

Sidra Bell Dance, Photography by Jubal Battisti I’ve always believed that there is no better way to spend your rainy Saturday night than being in a theater for a good show. Little did I know how “good of a show” I would end up seeing.  O.M.G. I cannot stop talking about Reverb Festival 2009. Mainly, because I can’t remember the last time I went to a show and liked every single piece.  Amazing.  Truly amazing. The choreographers for Reverb 2009 really out did themselves.  Adam Barruch, Sidra Bell, Lane Gifford, Jozsef Csaba Hajzer, Tomoko Maeda, Ja’Malik, Bradley Shelver, Annie Rigney, Jin Ju Song-Begin, Lizzie Thrasher, and Nelly van Bommel- you guys rock!  In a perfect world with endless amounts of space I would give you all a 4-star review. However, for now I’m just going to highlight my top 5 for the evening.

Only the FIERCE Dancers Apply! Nelly Van Bommel’s Fanfarneta is the perfect piece to open the show and set the level of artistry to expect for the remainder of the evening.  Poised and calm, Breegan Kearney and Connor Schumacher stand between two ballet barres as the lights come up.  The lights fade to black intermittently throughout the piece giving a feeling of time that has elapsed since we last saw the couple.  Don’t let the ballet barres fool you.  Kearney and Schumacher are the ideal dance power couple- strong, connected, and with equally matched high energy.  The two powerhouse dancers do a variety of acrobatic moves on the barres, forceful leaps, and mesmerizing partner work that leave you wanting more!  Bommel’s creativity in concept and captivating movement phrases set her aside as a choreographer to watch out for.

Ja'Malik, Photography by Kokyat One word to describe Ja’Malik:  fire!  In his piece, Lucid Dreams, the audience is at the the edge of their seats watching in pure awe, not only of the amazing facility and level of technique of his cast, but also of his ability to bring something refreshing to the contemporary ballet game. Ja’Malik has a keen sense of musicality, ingenious use of space and layering, and a natural element of precision in his work.  Four stars that catch my eye in this piece are Chalvar Monteiro, Johnathan Windham, and the Figgins twins.  These dancers have jaw dropping technique, legs for days, and a demanding stage presence.

Speaking of demanding stage presence, lets talk for a second about Lara Mummert.  Wow, lady!  Lara Mummert is a testament that great things do indeed come in small packages.  In her performance of Off White by Lane Gifford, she has the audience wrapped around her finger with such a breathtaking performance alongside another heart melting duet by Colin Baja and Joy Voelker.  Baja and Voelker’s natural chemistry is just icing on the cake of their effortlessly beautiful artistry.  Lane Gifford really knows how to grab the audience and take them away to a brief moment of paradise.

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then the audience is lucky to feast their eyes on the stunning women working it in Sidra Bell’s Beautiful Beast.  One of two all female casts in the program, these ladies are all things feminine: phenomenally strong and articulate with a striking focus and sensitivity to each other and glowing with confidence.  Sidra Bell has a unique vocabulary that goes beyond the surface of just moving.  Beautiful Beast exemplifies her ingenuity in creating work outside the box!  Her distinct voice in modern dance is one that is quickly rising above the noise and really making a sound.

Bradley Shelver, Photography by Torben RasmussenOh, Bradley Shelver what’s going on in that mind of yours?  True brilliance, that’s what!  Shelver’s  piece, 3114 BCE, takes us way way way back to the early days of mankind-in a raw, dirty, sexy, humorous kind of way.  Be prepared to be fully entertained as the dancers dive full force into their Neanderthal selves with pelvic thrusts, humping gestures, loud grunting, and flashing!  Shelver’s unique ability to blur the lines between dance and theater -to create a harmonious work where anything goes- is what will keep him one step ahead in the game.

Reverb Festival is the place to be to see amazing dancers and choreographers who are at the pinnacle of their artistic careers. This project is a breath of fresh air to the dance scene.  Want to have a refreshing experience and escape the typical New York dance concert?  Make sure you’re in the audience for Reverb 2010.

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Official Dance Review by Simone Sobers
Performance:  Reverb Festival 2009
Choreography: Adam Barruch, Sidra Bell, Lane Gifford, Jozsef Csaba Hajzer, Tomoko Maeda, Ja’Malik, Bradley Shelver, Annie Rigney, Jin Ju Song-Begin, Lizzie Thrasher, and Nelly van Bommel
Venue:  Manhattan Movement & Arts Center
Show Date:  Saturday, October 24, 2009

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One Response to “Dance Review: Reverb Festival 2009 -The Place to Be… Period!”
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